GWILLIM (AP GWYLLYM), John (by 1493-1550 or later), of Fawley, Herefs.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. by 1493, s. of David Gwillim of Lawstone in Llangarron. m. Joan, da. of Robert Powell of Whitchurch, 4s. 5da.1

Offices Held

Serjeant-at-arms by July 1514; steward, Fownhope, Herefs., Sept. 1516; j.p. Herefs. 1534-?d., escheator Feb.-Dec. 1536, 1541-2; commr. oyer and terminer 1540, gaol delivery, Hereford castle 1542, relief, Herefs. 1550.2


John Gwillim of Fawley was the first to establish his family in a position of any importance in the county. The statement that he enjoyed the patronage of the powerful Baskerville family is based on an error of identification. It was not his daughter who married Humphrey, the youngest brother of (Sir) James Baskerville, but Eleanor, daughter and heir of John Aguilliam of Llanbedr, or, as he appears in the Radnorshire pedigree of the Baskervilles of Aberedw, John ap Rys ap Gwilim ap Meuric. John Gwillim of Fawley may, however, have been related to Aguilliam and have derived some support from that connexion for his return as junior knight for Herefordshire in 1547. Little is known of his role in the House but he was presumably the ‘Mr. Gyller’ who on 5 Nov. 1549, the day after the opening of the third session, was one of four Members ordered by the House to excuse a ‘Mr. Palmer, burgess’ from appearing in the common pleas.3

Whoever was his patron in 1547, Gwillim was established in the royal service at an early age; it was as a serjeant-at-arms that he was given special admission to Lincoln’s Inn on 12 July 1514. In September 1516 he was appointed chief steward of the lordship of Fownhope, of which Fawley was part: he made his home there and his grandson Thomas built Fawley Court, a fine example of Elizabethan work. Gwillim was still serving as a serjeant-at-arms in 1526, when he received £18 5s. for his yearly wages, and it was probably in this capacity that he was ordered to furnish six men for the suppression of the northern rebellion in 1536. He was by that date also a justice of the peace for Herefordshire: in June 1534, with four other magistrates, he had examined a madman who had publicly expressed the hope that Catherine of Aragon should be ‘queen of England in her old place by the grace of God’, whilst himself claiming to be King.4

The last mention of Gwillim in a commission dates from December 1550, but he presumably attended the final session of Parliament in January 1552 as his name appears on the list of Members as then revised. In the absence of a will and an inquisition it is not known when he died. The inquisition of his eldest son John, taken in November 1560, shows that the family held no land in chief.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: A. J. Edwards


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Vis. Herefs. ed. Weaver, 34-35; Williams, Herefs. MPs, 38.
  • 2. LP Hen. VIII, ii, iv, vii, xiv-xviii, xx; CPR, 1547-8, p. 84; 1553, p. 354.
  • 3. Vis. Herefs. 8, 35; Dwnn, Vis. Wales, i. 256; CJ, i. 11.
  • 4. LP Hen. VIII, vii, xi; L.I. Adm. i. 36; C. J. Robinson, Mansions and Manors of Herefs. 121-2; Elton, Policy and Police, 65.
  • 5. C142/130/109.